Superb Hokkaido Wagyu Steak & Sukiyaki @ Imahan Hakata on 29Jan2015

excellent kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛 steak

excellent kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛 steak

this would rank as one of our best wagyu dinners in japan!^^

we decided to try out imahan hakata at hakataeki level 9 on 29.1.2015.

we had another best wagyu yakiniku & sukiyaki at moritaya at kyoto station during our previous tateyama alpine route & kamikochi trip in 2013.

we had a steak at imahan hakata & yakiniku at moritaya & sukiyaki at both. imahan was more expensive.

imahan might not be better. moritaya was equally good. but the overall experience in terms of service & ambience was better. 🙂 moritaya has view of kyoto tower & surrounding mountains though. ^^

salad

salad

for the steak dinner, we had a salad with the usual ponzu sauce. nice & refreshing.

excellent kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛 steak

excellent kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛 steak

excellent kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛 steak

excellent kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛 steak

the hokkaido wagyu was just excellent! marbled & flavourful, on elf our best wagyu dinners in japan!^^

sukiyaki hotplate

sukiyaki hotplate

very marbled sukiyaki wagyu

very marbled sukiyaki wagyu

very marbled sukiyaki wagyu

very marbled sukiyaki wagyu

sukiyaki veg

sukiyaki veg

excellent kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛 sukiyaki

excellent kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛 sukiyaki

the sukiyaki was done on a hotplate. it was really good! we also had the usual vege.

kyoto station moritaya’s sukiyaki was just as equally good.

the other excellent sukiyaki we had was at chinya at asakusa. but i guess the wagyu we had at chinya quite many years back was not the same quality as the ones we had at moritaya & here at imahan, so it was not comparing apples with apples.

c.h.e.f andy

Great Wagyu Yakiniku @ Yufuin Wasaku Kyushu Trip on 25jan2015

kuroge wagyu

kuroge wagyu

this the start of our short kyushu vacation. today my wife & i arrived yufuin 汤布院 oita prefecture about noon time, taking the 1hr 40mins highway bus from fukuoka airport.

check-in at our yufuin ryokan Gettoan was not until 3pm, so we planned to take the 30minutes walk from yufuin eki (train station), along the shopping street yunotsubo to lake kinrinko 金麟湖.

we had googled about yakiniku restaurants for lunch, and found wasaku, which was just few minutes walk from yufuin eki along the way to lake kinrinko.

yufuin wasaku yakiniku

yufuin wasaku yakiniku

restaurant was empty & we were the only lunch customer throughout.

it was a nice setting on the usual tatami & with very powerful exhaust suction. 🙂

kuroge wagyu

kuroge wagyu

kuroge wagyu + chicken

kuroge wagyu + chicken

the kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛 karubi set (i think 1640yen+8%tax) was very good. the wagyu + chicken set was 1760yen+8%.

chicken seems very popular in many parts of japan for both shabu shabu & yakiniku, not sure why. we found it tough & nothing special. the plain wagyu set was better as it had  7 pieces whereas the combo set had 4 or maybe 5pieces.

salad & sauce dip

salad & sauce dip

wagyu yakiniku set

wagyu yakiniku set

the set came with the usual salad, gohan with pickles, miso soup, & sauce dip for the yakiniku.

kuroge wagyu

kuroge wagyu

we thoroughly enjoyed this first restaurant meal on this kyushu trip (had ramen at fukuoka airport on arrival earlier while waiting for our bus to yufuin). there was no opportunity though to go back. we had kaiseki dinners & breakfasts as part of our 2-day ryokan stay at Gettoan, and we had a nice steak lunch at lamp sha 1561 kawakami yufuincho next to lake kinrinko the next day. ^^

the 2 sets came to about 3672yen or S$36++, a very good deal compared with wagyu yakiniku in Singapore, or even just australian or NZ beef cuts.

c.h.e.f andy

Our Favourite Yakiniku @ Aburiya on 6Oct2014

ohmi wagyu beef set

ohmi wagyu beef set – S$39.95

went to aburiya for dinner with wife & daughter on 6.10.2014. 🙂

i had an excellent dinner here last on 19.3.2014. today was just as good! 🙂

yakiniku

yakiniku

aburiya yakiniku

aburiya yakiniku

sake

sake

kimchi chigae

kimchi chigae – S$11.90

kimchi chigae

kimchi chigae – S$11.90

bibimen

bibimen – S$12.90

we ordered our usuals – kimchi chigae & bibimen. i love both these dishes.

kimchi chigae always so tasty, with some slices of thin belly pork. i love the kurobuta kimchi nabe at shirokiya @ cuppage terrace but for a simple small helping of kimchi chigae, aburiya’s is the best.

bibimen is something i come to like because my wife prefers it to bibimbap. now i get to like everything about it, flavours, texture. 🙂

ohmi wagyu beef set

ohmi wagyu beef set – S$39.90

we decided to order the ohmi wagyu beef set (above & top photo). it looked marbled, tasted good, but somehow not quite matching our expectations of the intense marbled flavours of 1 of the 3 best kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) in japan, along with kobe & matsuzaka. somehow the last time we had the cheaper hokkaido wagyu here on 19.3.2014, it left a more lasting impression. maybe it’s better just to order karubi or jo-karubi than to have the tokumori mixed set.

for me tajimaya@vivocity’s wagyu was pricy but good too only if there is amex 50% discount, but they did not have the kimchi chigae & bibimen we liked here, so the enjoyment was not the same. 🙂

 jo karubi negi (prime short ribs with leek)

karubi negi (short ribs with leek) – S$11.90

we had the cheap australian angus karubi negi (short ribs with leek). it was quite ok. anyway we had always liked it before we started trying the wagyu here.

kurobuta & iberia pork set

kurobuta & iberia pork set – S$25

kurobuta & iberia pork set

kurobuta & iberia pork set – S$25

we tried the kurobuta & iberia pork set this time. it was really good. certainly better than the karubi. i think overall our enjoyment of the pork was more than even the ohmi tokumori set, not that the ohmi was poor.

the bill

the bill

the bill came to S$143 nett for 3pax including a bottle of sake. quite ok for a very enjoyable dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Good 3pax Yakiniku Dinner @ Tajimaya Vivocity on 20Jul2014

yakiniku @ tajimaya vivocity

yakiniku @ tajimaya vivocity

we had always gone to aburiya. maybe it was familiarity & convenience, even though we knew that tajimaya by the creative eateries group had amex discounts.

this the first time we were dining here. amex offer was 1person off, so 33% discounts for 3pax alacarte exclude drinks. 🙂

looking at the menu we felt the prices were kind of expensive. another negative point was they did not serve tap water. so only 2 options – pay S$5.90++ for 1litre bottled water OR S$3++pax for tea (refillable). we ordered 3 tea, but if i go again, i am quite prepared to go w/o water during the meal. 🙂

i am ok with restaurants charging for water. however i think it should be like S$0.30 or S$0.50 or max S$1 & refillable, NOT S$5.90 for 1 litre water (bottled or tap).

kuroge wagyu karubi - S$54.90

kuroge wagyu karubi – S$54.90

we added the wagyu towards the end decided that since we were there, might as well gave it a try. the kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) karubi (short ribs) was good. not sure if worth money even with 33% discounts but it was good. 🙂

ribeye 120g - S$25.90++

ribeye 120g – S$25.90++

karubi 120g - S$25.90++

karubi 120g – S$25.90++

kurobuta pork jowl - S$18.90

kurobuta pork jowl – S$18.90

our first orders were the USA ribeye & karubi, and the kurobuta pork jowl. all were good though my wife preferred the beef shio (just salt) so we late had the wagyu order shio.

for me, both beef were good, and the kurobuta was best. 🙂

yakiniku @ tajimaya vivocity

yakiniku @ tajimaya vivocity

beef ishiyaki don - S$15.90

beef ishiyaki don – S$15.90

belly pork ishiyaki don - S$15.90

belly pork ishiyaki don – S$13.90

we had the beef ishiyaki don. we must be hungry as we added also the pork ishiyaki don.

how did tajimaya match up with aburiya. we missed our favourite kimchi chigae & the bibimen (cold spicy noodles) at aburiya. the ishiyaki don here i would rate as better than aburiya’s bibimbab as it had a lot more ingredients – quite substantial beef & pork. meat wise my wife still preferred aburiya. i am ok with both.

our dinner was S$186nett for 3pax after discounts. that though included the expensive wagyu & also S$30++ for sake & S$9++ for 3 tea.

for me, tajimaya was too ex w/o discounts. with discount, it was an alternative to aburiya though I preferred aburiya also for the kimchi chigae & bibimen. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Excellent Yakiniku @ Gyukaku at Matsumoto on 13Oct2013

kuroge wagyu

kuroge wagyu – 980yen

we modified our trip plans last minute, dropped unazuki & included kamikochi which my wife had always wanted to go, so switched our hotel bookings from omachi onsen to matsumoto on 13.10.2013, as there was a direct bus 1hr 50mins journey from matsumoto to arrive at kamikochi at 12pm the next day.

after traversing the alpine route, we took a 1 hr train from shinano omachi to matsumoto, and was very happy to be greeted with our forwarded luggage the moment i mentioned my name at check-in to matsumoto tourist hotel at 4pm. the legendary japanese luggage forwarding was well, legendary! 🙂

i was walking around the hotel for dinner place & found a name i knew – gyukakau, a yakiniku restaurant which i had tried the hollandv outlet once (ok but we prefer aburiya). in japan though i guess its different. we got very good wagyu beef at much lower prices!

wagyu karubi

wagyu karubi – 680yen

some thick cut beef

some thick cut beef – 590yen

thick belly ham

thick belly ham – 390yen

yakiniku

yakiniku

ishiyaki bibimbap

ishiyaki bibimbap – 690yen

seafood kimchi chigae

seafood kimchi chigae 490yen

the bill

the bill

the kuroge wagyu sirloin was excellent, marbled & tasty. but so was the wagyu karuni, very flavourful! (we made a second order but now looking at the bill, the second order might have been different & with too much garlic on it). the thick cut beef which was flamed or lightly smoked was quite tasty too, but inferior to the other 2. the thick cut belly bacon was ok but of course it was not to be c/w kurobuta.

they ran out of bibimen so we ordered bibimbap. it was ok but the seafood kimchi chigae was bad (i guess kimchi chigae must always be the belly pork version to give it the flavours & umami). for these last 2 items, aburiya‘s were much better! & my wife had her usual hakkaisan sake (八海山).

anyway the bill with taxes came to 5274yen = S$58++! 🙂 at aburiya the plate of kuroge wagyu alone would be like S$28!

this was 1 excellent dinner. of course it was no comparison with the one we had at moritaya at kyoto station but still a most enjoyable one. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Kuroge Wagyu Shabu Shabu & Sukiyaki @ 花心 河原町店 Kashin Kawaramachi Kyoto on 18May2013

kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛放题 (all you can eat) shabu shabu & sukiyaki

kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛放题 (all you can eat) shabu shabu & sukiyaki

after a very pleasant afternoon & surprisingly shaded walk at Fushimi Inari, we took the Keihan line from Fushimi Inari station to Sanjo station, and walked back along Kawaramachi towards Shijo.

we wanted to have some good shabu shabu & saw that 花心 Kashin was offering 2980 yen Japanese beef + pork & 3980 yen kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛放题 (all you can eat).

we had some problems (the usual lost in translation) at the 9flr restaurant when we showed the waitress the brochure we picked up at ground floor which said it was kuroge wagyu (all you can eat) whereas the restaurant menu showed kuroge wagyu + pork (all you can eat). we were just there for the kuroge & did not want to have pork to fill up our stomach..haha. 🙂 anyway we settled in for what they had on the menu rather than spend time miscommunicating. 🙂

1/2 shabu shabu (chicken broth) & 1/2 sukiyaki

1/2 shabu shabu (chicken broth) & 1/2 sukiyaki

there was another hiccup. we were asked to choose 2 from 4 different soup base, and we chose chicken broth & sukiyaki. this was a departure from the usual shabu shabu which was just kunbu water no soup base to talk about..anyway we did not get the usual shabu shabu sauce (sesame & shoyu) and the waiter informed us that the soup base we selected did not include any sauce. he brought the 2 sauces with a sign showing 100yen. We said we were not told otherwise we would have picked the kunbu with the sauce..anyway this time their turn to give in & they let us have the sauce free (or in Japan they say “service”)..as it turned out the restaurant was right & we did not really need the sauces. 🙂

tofu appetizer

tofu appetizer

dinner started (again) with a tofu starter with wasabi & sauce. it was nice so no complaints. 🙂

DSCN5007 DSCN5008

there was a tube of minced pork with the vegetable basket. it was good! we did not put any additional orders for this or the vegetables as we just wanted to eat kuroge wagyu!

kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛放题 (all you can eat) shabu shabu & sukiyaki

kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛放题 (all you can eat) shabu shabu & sukiyaki

& the long awaited kuroge (top photo & above) – they were good! not as good as the thick-cut kagoshima wagyu konabe at Mikuni, but it was a sweet, flavourful beef. 🙂

it was a double-decker box & we soon asked for a second. this was however replaced by pork. the pork was not too bad too, but it really spoiled my appetite. fortunately our third & fourth orders of the double-decker box were all kuroge wagyu. satisfaction! 🙂 I thought I might get tired of the beef but in fact I enjoyed the last box the most, perhaps it was better cut than the first box & in any case I had gotten over the disappointment of the “interfering” pork. 🙂

DSCN5013 DSCN5012 DSCN5009 DSCN5019

the photos above were the shabu-ed (it means 涮 which I think by definition means 7 or 8 swipes in boiling water) beef – sukiyaki with raw egg & shabu shabu. the sukiyaki beef was best taken together with a small spoonful of sukiyaki sauce. the shabu-ed beef was good on its own & by-the-way the chicken broth was very tasty.

DSCN5022 DSCN5021

the set actually included selection of dessert. we picked a mochi ice cream (vanilla inside mochi skin – quite good), and an almond tofu (杏仁豆腐). I absolutely enjoyed the dinner- though I should avoid having buffets.

view of Kawaramachi Kyoto from 花心 Kaisin on 9Flr

view of Kawaramachi Kyoto from 花心 Kaisin on 9Flr

& the view of Kawaramachi from 花心 Kaisin was good too!

c.h.e.f andy

Teppanyaki Course Lunch @ Gozanbo Hotel Granvia Kyoto Station on 18May2013

teppan Japanese beef (国产牛) tenderloin

teppan Japanese beef (国产牛) tenderloin

Gozanbo 五山望 @ HOTEL GRANVIA KYOTO remains my best non-kaiseki teppanyaki course lunch restaurant in Japan since we first had our teppan lunch there in 2008 while staying at Granvia. 🙂

The view is excellent of course looking out over Kyoto Tower & cityscape and at the surrounding mountains. the service is always impeccable & the courses & plating (like the creamy soup, appetizer & teppan fish dishes) have good european influence. the teppan beef of course is totally great Japanese taste. 🙂

every time we visited Kyoto I made sure we had a lunch at Gozanbo. my wife & daughter did recently & I had lunch there with my sister yesterday. 🙂 we had the 400o yen & 6000 yen set.

DSCN4932 DSCN4924 DSCN4931

I just loved the garlic. really “shiok”! I tried it at home quite successfully once with butter & sea salt. I think I am going to do this for my friends next dinner, together with wagyu steak. 🙂 always like their bread roll (like a baguette) toasted on the teppan.

DSCN4925DSCN4926

our starter was a tofu dish with wasabi & some sauce – nice!

DSCN4927 DSCN4928

the 6000 yen set came with poached anago (conger eel) topped with an “ice cream”of blue cheese. I love blue cheese! this was pretty & taste was good, plating was like any French restaurant – so looked nice tasted good. but I not sure about this – think the usual grilled sushi or sashimi anago would be much better taste experience. 🙂

DSCN4930 DSCN4929

the 4000 yen set came with a seabass sashimi with some sauce & leek garnishing. this was very nice – maybe I just like sashimi FULLSTOP!

DSCN4933 DSCN4935

we both had a creamy white bean soup with tomato foam (this tasted really good!) and a nice refreshing yasai(野菜) salad.

DSCN4936

the 4000 yen set came with a teppan tai (sea bream)…the young chef did this really well – the fish, the skin & the french beans. 🙂

DSCN4938 DSCN4937

the 6000 yen set came with a teppan prawn & asparagus & topped with an onsen egg – very much like modern european fine dining. the egg added a great combination of texture to a very tasty dish! 🙂

DSCN4939 DSCN4941

DSCN4940 DSCN4942

here you see the young chef at work on our teppan Japanese beef. the head chef Doi-san whom we knew was away on home vacation, but anyway he made arrangements for our prior lunch booking. 🙂

DSCN4943

teppan kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛

according to the menu, the 4000 yen set came with 80g  japanese beef tenderloin (国产牛) and the 6000 yen set had specially selected 和牛 (which should be kuroge 黑毛和牛) but a smaller 60g portion; BUT translation had always been notorious! the smaller beef from the 6000 yen set did not taste anything like kuroge wagyu. it was indeed more tender but the larger beef from the 4000 yen set seemed more marbled and tasty!

whatever – both were good but considering the price 6000 yen vs 4000 yen and the quality of the end result, I would say the 4000 yen was extremely good value (previously this was priced at 3500 yen however that was the time when the yen was 100yen to S$1.6 to S$1.7, but it is 100 yen to S$1.235 now!).

DSCN4947 DSCN4945 DSCN4946

the chef served us both with kamameshi (釜飯) instead of plain rice for the 4000 yen set. I was never quite a fan of this. it did come with 4 tasty pieces of bonito and was quite nice really. 🙂

cake & sorbet dessert

cake & sorbet dessert

we had a nice cake & sorbet for dessert and ended lunch with an all satisfying brewed coffee (good!). usually we would adjourn to an area for after-meal coffee (remember Gozanbo offers great views of Kyoto city!) but this time they said it was full. when I paid the bill I saw that the dessert area was in fact completely empty so perhaps they did not want to open up the section – fair enough I guess! if they closed the section, they need not open it just for me.

c.h.e.f andy

1500yen Kuroge Wagyu (黑毛和牛) Lunch Set (sashimi, grilled & braised wagyu) on 14Apr2013

DSCN4539

kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) sashimi

was considering couple recommended yakiniku restaurants in Shinjuku like Kurumaya & Jojoen (which was also highly recommended by a good friend).

I found Jojoen (叙々苑) with little difficulty at 7F of a building just across the road from Shinjuku East Exit. 🙂 as was shown on the website, Jojoen had quite good 1700yen & 2700yen set lunches, both were Japanese beef (国产牛) but not kuroge. It had good lunch traffic and was clearly a popular restaurant. I had wanted to try out Kurumaya as it had a lunch kaiseki set which included beef for 5500yen so I continued on. however I was not able to locate Kurumaya w/o my map & GPS (as I did not subscribe to the unlimited roaming service on 14apr2013).

as I was walking up the streets to get back to the Jojeon locality I chanced upon this 1500yen kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) lunch set. I decided to give it a go and was happily very well rewarded for my adventurous spirit..haha. 🙂

DSCN4541 20130414_132438

the set included 4 slices of kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) sashimi – I just love beef sashimi – and they were very sweet, tasty, not chewy & w/o residue. :-).

DSCN4537

1500yen kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) lunch set

there was also the grilled wagyu. of course I was not expecting some top grade kuroge & anyway it was really very nice & tasty even though it was not the highly marbled “pang” (fragrant) variety. 🙂

DSCN4540

kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) grilled

and I had always like braised beef, and the japanese way of braising beef & belly pork using mirin, sugar & soy sauce was a very nice recipe which I liked. 🙂

DSCN4538

kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) braised pot

The shop name was in hiragana or something so I tried but was unable to locate the shop on internet. anyway I was quite sure that I would have no difficulty to physically locate this place again.

yakiniku shop at Shinjuku kabukicho

yakiniku shop at Shinjuku kabukicho

I was very happy with the cheap& good lunch which included everything I wanted – sashimi, grilled steak & braised pot. I am sure to be back here again next time I visit Shinjuku. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy